How a Half-Jewish German Spy Smuggled the Lubavitcher Rebbe out of Poland

When World War II broke out, Yosef Yitzḥak Schneersohn, the sixth rebbe of the Chabad-Lubavitch Ḥasidim, was in Poland, where he had been living since 1934. His American followers immediately commenced efforts to bring him to the U.S., hiring a Washington lobbyist to contact congressmen, White House officials, and even Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis for help. Eventually, an American diplomat requested the intervention of his German counterpart, who readily agreed. As Larry Price puts it, “The Roosevelt administration had decided to toss the Jewish community a bone to keep them quiet, and the bone was Rabbi Schneersohn.”

The one person in Germany with the authority to take a Jew out of Poland was the head of military intelligence, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. Price continues:

Canaris called one of his officers, Major Ernst Bloch, a highly decorated soldier, into a meeting, [and] told him that he had been approached by the U.S. government to locate and rescue Rabbi Yosef Yitzḥak Schneersohn: “You’re going to go up to Warsaw and you’re going to find the most ultra-Jewish rabbi in the world,” [he told Bloch], “and you’re going to rescue him. You can’t miss him, he looks just like Moses.”

Major Ernst Bloch was a career spy. He’d joined the German army at sixteen, been severely wounded in World War I, and stayed in the army after the war. . . . Bloch was also half-Jewish. His father was a Jewish physician from Berlin who, like many other German Jews in that period, had converted to Christianity. Bloch’s mother was Aryan.

After locating Schneersohn—which proved far more difficult than Canaris predicted—Bloch escorted him and his family by civilian train to Berlin, and from there through Lithuania to Latvia, where the rebbe waited to receive a U.S. visa. Once again, his followers had to engage in intensive lobbying, this time to convince the anti-immigrant head of the State Department’s visa section, Breckenridge Long, to grant permission for the Schneersohsn to enter the U.S. Yet they somehow succeeded.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Chabad, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Holocaust, State Department, U.S. Foreign policy

The Ugly Roots of Ireland’s Anti-Israel Policies

Prime Minister Varadkar’s meretricious messaging concerning the freeing of a kidnapped child is only one example of the Irish government’s perverse reaction to Hamas’s assault on Israel. Varadkar has accused the IDF of pursuing “something approaching revenge” in Gaza, and compared the Israeli war effort to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. His parliament, meanwhile, came close to expelling the Israeli ambassador. Terry Glavin writes:

In a recent interview, . . . the retired Irish diplomat Niall Holohan put it this way: “We feel we have been victimized over the centuries. It’s part of our psyche—underneath it all we side with the underdog.” But there’s something else in the Irish psyche that’s impolite to mention in the comfy Dublin pubs and bistros. . . . Not a few of Ireland’s gallant and celebrated champions of the underdog, its heroes of Irish freedom, were vulgar anti-Semites and Nazi collaborators.

And in recent years, Irish Jews are commonly baited, harassed, and badgered every time there is some eruption in Israel involving Palestinian “resistance.”

The republican pamphleteer Arthur Griffith approved [of anti-Jewish agitation in Limerick in 1904], calling Jews “usurers and parasites.” Griffiths was one of the founders of Sinn Féin, in 1905, and he served as Sinn Féin’s president in 1911.

There was always a deep division in the Irish nationalist movement between Irish republicans who felt an affinity with the Jews owing to a shared history of dispossession and exile, and Catholic extremists who ranted and raved about Jews. Those Catholic shouters are still abroad, apparently unaware that for half a century, Catholic doctrine has established that anti-Semitism is a mortal sin.

Read more at National Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza War 2023, Ireland